This article was first written for and published by the Roar.
Sasha Moloney’s love of cricket has taken her all over the world to play, including Ireland and the Netherlands.
From May to August in 2015, Moloney was part of the Typhoons team in the Cricket Ireland Women’s Super Threes series. That competition involved 50-over and T20 matches.
While Moloney did love her time in Ireland, there was one minor challenge.
“The team I played with were such a lovely group and Dublin itself kind of reminded me of home,” said Moloney.
“It is like Hobart in that it is more relaxed than other cities, so I really felt at home.
“It was just a shame I didn’t get to play that much cricket because of the rain.”
Moloney loved her time in Ireland but admits that Hobart is still her favourite place to play cricket. In fact, if you live in Tasmania, you may have spotted Moloney taking her cat Simba for walks around Bellerive.
Unfortunately, Simba has not come to Sydney with Moloney to the WBBL hub, but fortunately she is surrounded by her Hobart Hurricanes teammates to keep her company.
It has been a disappointing start to WBBL06 for the Hurricanes. Out of their first four matches, two were abandoned due to rain and the Hurricanes lost the other two.
A key concern from those two games was the Hurricanes’ batting performance, with the highest individual score out of those first four games being the 28 scored by new recruit Naomi Stalenberg.
But this week, the Hurricanes have turned a corner with a nine-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades, finally notching their first victory for the summer.
For Moloney, this was a relief, but also a reflection of the additional work the team had done in the lead-up to the game against the Renegades.
“Before that game we spoke a little about how our preparation may not have been as good as it could have been,” said Moloney.
These conversations among the coaching staff and playing group not only involved reflecting on individual performances, but also on plans for specific players in the opposition.
“We made sure our planning as a bowling group was on point and you probably saw the result of that when Sophie Molineux was dismissed,” said Moloney.
“We also came together as a batting group. We knew we weren’t performing as well as we could or should have been so we had a discussion about what was and what wasn’t working in those first two games.”
Winning the toss and electing to bat was also part of a strategy to flip the mindset of the Hurricanes during this game.
“We were a little bit flat when we had been fielding against the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Stars, which does happen when you haven’t put a lot of runs on the board, so that was a big focus in the game against the Renegades,” said Moloney.
“When we go get a chance to get out there in the field, we wanted to make sure that we were putting in 110 per cent and throwing our bodies around, which then helps to lift the bowling group.
“If you field first, you aren’t thinking about anything else, other than your fielding performance. And we know that with the bowlers that we have, when we are on we are very good and can dominate the ball.
“When we get it right we are going to be very good.”
Against the Renegades, the Hurricanes did get it right from a bowling perspective. While spin did seem to be working wonders on the pitch, the wickets were shared fairly evenly among the Hurricanes bowling attack.
Belinda Vakarewa took 2-12, Hayley Matthews took 2-9, Nicola Carey took 3-14, Moloney took 2-12 and Amy Smith took 1-9.
The way that the bowling attack came together ahead of this game was particularly impressive given the double blow faced by the Hurricanes in the lead-in to the WBBL06 with injuries to Tayla Vlaeminck and Maisy Gibson.
These injuries rules out both players for the entirety of the tournament which is a shame, given that these two women are two of the most experienced bowlers at the Hurricanes.
But that does mean that there is an opportunity for other players to step up.
Players like Smith, who is someone that Moloney knows well. Smith is just 15 years old and her presence in the team is making Moloney feel a little bit old.
“I have coached her in a couple of teams so to now be playing alongside her, makes me feel like I am showing my age,” said Moloney.
“She has always been really talented, but the way she has gone about this experience has been unbelievable.
“Even in the field she provides so much energy and we are all feeding off it at the moment.”
For Moloney, the inclusion of Smith in the squad demonstrates just how much talent exists in Australia and additionally how the WBBL is a unique opportunity to give that talent the chance to play regular T20 cricket against some of the best players in the world.
“You look around in the hub and there are so many young, talented girls coming through,” said Moloney.
“You have girls that are 16, 17 and 18 and it’s really exciting for the competition and the future of cricket.”